Daylight saving crept up on me. I am still disoriented! This morning, a very gentle wander through some of the things that I have noticed, or have been drawn to my attention.
In a comment on A day at the Fleet Review, kvd drew my attention to this link about walks around Sydney. I have been slowly doing some of those walks; this is an earlier example: Introducing the Berry Island and Balls Head Walk. In some ways, Sydney is a breathtakingly beautiful city because of the harbour. For a history nut like me, each walk is also a chance to deepen my knowledge. So many of the guides are very superficial, stitched together from a few sources, that the real story gets lost. You can do these walks just for the beauty, but I like a little more.
I was saddened to hear of the death of the US writer Tom Clancy for he gave me much pleasure with his earlier books. The photo is from the Sydney Morning Herald obituary.
I first came across Clancy in Canberra when I was involved in the periphery of a major submarine procurement by the Royal Australian Navy. "You must read The Hunt for Red October", a Defence Department colleague said. I"t is the best book I know on submarines." I did, for I hadn't been involved in subs before. It was good, but i liked his later books better.
Clancy was a good writer who could tell a tale. I enjoyed that. But I also found his underlying political views that played out in the career of Jack Ryan interesting. Clancy was a remarkably good way of understanding certain threads US political thought that would later create the Tea Party movement. I didn't enjoy his later and co-authored or sponsored books so much and stopped reading. This had become techno, games babble.
English crime writer Robert Barnard has also died. His first book, Death of an Old Goat, to use the English rather than US title, was actually set in Armidale, Drummondale in the book. I last wrote on this book back in 2012 in History revisited - literature's window to our past. It was a somewhat raw book, but very funny for those who knew the local scene. I both cringed and laughed. Barnard went on to considerable success as a crime writer.
Regular readers will know that I follow Aboriginal politics reasonably closely and also write a fair bit on Aboriginal issues. It's hard sometimes. I was reminded of this by a piece in the Sydney Morning Herald on Warren Mundine, the head of Mr Abbott's new Indigenous Council.
I hadn't properly realised the New England connections, This photo of Mr Mundine and then wife Lynette was taken in 1992. They were living in Armidale as was I, but would move to Dubbo the following year, starting Mr Mundine's real rise.
I cannot comment on the detail of Mr Mundine's life, but he is the subject of scathing criticism. This is an example from Facebook:
He is not taken seriously by many, if that is any consolation. He's like the Kevin Rudd of Aboriginal affairs - an unapologetic political whore. Loves the media attention, but has absolutely nothing of substance to say beyond the blatantly obvious.
I am very, very, careful about what I say on Aboriginal issues. I really do exercise self-censorship. I have no time for those who denigrate. I try to tell the historical story as best I can. However, there is a thread in Aboriginal commentary, commentary by Aborigines,that I find very difficult.
Partly I think of it as the re-assertion of claims, of pride. I can share that, promote it. But partly I think of it as exclusionist, the assertion of beliefs and rights that are both impractical and, in many case,s a-historical, I look and see the creation of a new ghetto, but this one accepted, sought for, not imposed. As a non-Aboriginal Australian. I have no place there.
It's all very complicated. A few years back, i had lunch with a NSW Aboriginal leader. He explained that there were two Aboriginal groups in NSW, those connected with mish (mission) or reserve and the fringies, the fringe dwellers, who refused to accept the dictates of the Aboriginal Protection or Welfare Board. They broke out, created a new life. Today, or so it seems to me, Aboriginal thinking in NSW is dominated by connections to mish or reserve, dominated by the need to redress past wrongs as compared to the advancement of the Aboriginal peoples. I wonder how representative all this is?
I won't go on at his point. Just a note. I do wonder, however, how many generations have to pass before the problems of the present will be accepted as problems of the present as compared to the legacy of the past.